What skills do smart people have

Intelligence test: 9 types of intelligence - and 9 myths

Intelligence is difficult to grasp. Does intelligence show itself in knowledge and cleverness on various topics? Is someone intelligent who is quick to grasp or has a good imagination? What does it say about intelligence when you can put yourself in the shoes of others particularly well? Even science has no unified and accepted answer as to what exactly intelligence is. An intelligence test, however, only focuses on a certain area and therefore often falls short and does not take facets into account. Here you can find out how versatile intelligence can be and what you should definitely know about intelligence ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Intelligence test: what actually is intelligence?

For centuries researchers have been devoting themselves to the question: What is intelligence? So far without success, because science is still waiting for a unified answer that really explains the phenomenon. So it stays with descriptions and approximations for the time being: Intelligence is commonly understood as the ability to find one's way in new situations by quickly grasping and combining relationships. Intelligent people are said to have a high level of comprehension or a penchant for logical thinking.

It is also assumedthat the intelligence of a person can be measured in parts using the intelligence quotient (IQ), which can be determined by a corresponding intelligence test. This expresses the intellectual capabilities of a person, for example the ability to solve complex tasks. Most people have an IQ in the 85 to 115 range. If you have an IQ value of 130 points or more, you are considered gifted in Germany.

However, there is regular criticism of such an intelligence test and understanding. The reason: Many assume that intelligence is more than logical thinking and quick comprehension. Against this background, an image of intelligence has developed that differentiates more differently and separates numerous areas of intelligence from one another.

Intelligence test: IQ puzzles to practice

If you fancy a mini intelligence test: The following pictures belong to the group of typical logic puzzles and IQ test tasks and require partly lateral thinking and partly spatial thinking. There is of course no evaluation. To derive an IQ from these tasks would simply be dubious. Even so, feel free to try to crack the brain teasers and puzzles. You can get to the solutions by simply clicking on the orange arrow pointing to the right:

The 9 types of intelligence

Is someone who has a poor understanding of numbers less intelligent than a good mathematician? Not necessarily, says Howard Gardner, professor of Exercise and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A different approach for his intelligence model: He differentiates a total of nine types of intelligence in humans. In doing so, he enormously expands the understanding of intelligence and classic intelligence tests, which are otherwise limited to logical relationships, mathematical knowledge and linguistic abilities. If you believe Gardner's approach, a person can bring these types of intelligence:

  1. Linguistic intelligence

    Gardner also sees a kind of intelligence in linguistic talent. A strong linguistic intelligence gives you good rhetorical skills and the gift to put your thoughts in the right words and to communicate your point of view without causing misunderstandings. This gift is of course indispensable for speakers or authors, for example, but also relevant for managers who have to make the goals clear to their employees and want to ensure their motivation.

  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence

    A good use of numbers, a quick grasp and the talent to grasp logical relationships are what distinguish this type of intelligence. Logical-mathematical intelligence is also required to formulate hypotheses and check their truthfulness. It plays a major role in mathematical professions, for example in statistics or in controlling. But it also generally helps to identify problems and to solve them efficiently.

  3. Interpersonal intelligence

    Empathy can also be viewed as a form of intelligence. The focus of interpersonal intelligence is on the perception of other people. How does the interlocutor feel, what goals are he pursuing and what motivates him? Finding the right questions to these answers is a great advantage in negotiations, but executives and project managers also benefit from a pronounced empathy.

  4. Intrapersonal intelligence

    As you correctly suspect, it is now about the perception of oneself. Do you know your own feelings, fears and dreams? Can you also process these? Then you can look forward to strong intrapersonal intelligence. This is of course advantageous in every area of ​​life, but founders and self-employed people in particular should be able to rely on being able to assess themselves well.

  5. Nature-related intelligence

    This species can probably best be described with the green thumb. This type of intelligence is available to those who are in harmony with nature. A strong nature-related intelligence shows itself in a particularly good relationship to animals, but also to plants that literally bloom in your environment. This is of course an advantage in the gardening or veterinarian professions. Vibrating in harmony with one's environment also helps to be more relaxed and to deal with stress better.

  6. Musical intelligence

    According to Howard Gardner, a feeling for music, tones, timbre and rhythm is also a kind of intelligence. This is necessary, for example, when playing an instrument or memorizing a melody. First and foremost, musicians of all directions benefit from musical intelligence, but it can also help in conducting a conversation to recognize emotions from the sound of the voice or the speech melody of the other person.

  7. Physical-kinesthetic intelligence

    Good coordination between body and mind - this is how you could sum up physical-kinesthetic intelligence. At its core it is about the conscious control of one's own movements. Sounds abstract at first, but it is of great importance in artistic professions. The works of a painter or sculptor can only succeed if he can precisely implement his ideas.

  8. Spatial Intelligence

    The most classic example of spatial intelligence is parking a car. A piece of cake for some, a cause for despair for others. Anyone who has spatial intelligence is able to imagine and understand their environment in three dimensions. This ability is required in architecture or design, for example.

  9. Existential intelligence

    Why do we live and die? Dealing with these existential questions is part of the ninth and final kind of intelligence according to Howard Gardner. This refers to a very profound level as it revolves around understanding one's own existence.

It is important with this approach: The different types of intelligence must not be viewed separately and in isolation from one another. Rather, they complement each other and only give a complete picture of a person's intelligence when taken together. In other words: everyone has all types of intelligence - only the characteristics differ.

There remains criticism and disagreement on the concept of intelligence

Not everyone agrees with the nine types of intelligence. Many critics see some of the types as soft skills that anyone can acquire through learning or practice. A much criticized point in this context is interpersonal intelligence. Many see this as a point that is only developed in the course of life through experience. Proponents of the model oppose that it behaves similarly with logical-mathematical relationships or linguistic abilities.

In the end, it is up to you whether you share the opinion of Howard Gardner and his model of the 9 types of intelligence. Researchers currently agree that they disagree. Some believe there must be a general factor that connects intelligence, others see emotional intelligence above all, and still others advocate the theory of different types of intelligence - it will probably be some time before a clear answer can be found. You may even have your own personal opinion about what intelligence means.

But even those who do not or only partially agree with the researchers' views can learn from them. Everyone has strengths, talents and skills. The key to success lies in finding, expanding and using them.

Study: can intelligence be read in the face?

There is another question about intelligence that is often discussed: How do you recognize an intelligent person - and can intelligence possibly even be read off the face? The idea is not so absurd, because a person's face fulfills important signaling functions. It provides information about age, health, and mood, as well as how likeable someone else is to us. Why shouldn't it also be possible to assess intelligence based on the face?

A Czech team of scientists carried out an experiment in which they examined the connection between perceived and actual intelligence using 40 photos each of male and female faces.

The pictures show 80 biology students who previously went through classic intelligence tests in order to initially classify them on the basis of the results. The pictures themselves have now been shown to 160 students from the humanities and judged by them. The facial expression in the pictures is natural, no make-up, the unadorned truth in order to rule out disturbing factors. But why the whole thing?

First and foremost, it was about filling a research gap. There are studies on the influence of visual stimuli on the perceived intelligence of a person, but none on whether the facial features themselves convey the level of intelligence. The researchers also wanted to find out which facial features are associated with intelligence. The amazing results:

  • Men: Both sexes could reliably read off the actual intelligence of men based on facial features. This means that there is a strong correlation between perceived and actual intelligence in men. So you can see with a particularly high probability men how intelligent they really are.
  • Women: In women, the assessment of intelligence turned out to be much more difficult. All of the subjects found it difficult to see how intelligent they really are.

The researchers were also able to determine which features of the face are perceived as intelligent:

  • Smart face: People with narrow faces, pointed chins, and elongated noses are thought to be smart.
  • Less intelligent face: People with round faces, broad chins, and small noses are generally said to be less intelligent.
  • Emotions: Not only the shape but also the expression is crucial. People who smile are thought to be more intelligent than people who don't smile.

It would be presumptuous to claim that whoever looks stupid is automatically too - and vice versa. Nevertheless, the results of the study suggest that every person unconsciously has a certain image of an intelligent person in their mind.

Myths and interesting facts about intelligence

There are many myths and a lot of dangerous half-knowledge about intelligence. Alleged connections that are spread in the chest tone of conviction. For example, intelligence is an important success factor. Motto: Those who are intelligent get ahead in their jobs, make it up the career ladder and of course earn more money accordingly. But are these and other myths really true? We took a closer look at some myths about such correlations and causalities and checked them for their truthfulness:

  1. Humorous people are more intelligent

    Right. According to a study, humor is a veritable sign of intelligence. The researchers had test subjects complete all sorts of cognitive, verbal and classic intelligence tests, but also demonstrated humor. Result: humor turned out to be a strong indicator of high intelligence. Anyone who was able to make fun of situation comedy or play on words scored significantly better in the tests. Or to put it another way: While the average IQ of the population (and test persons) is between 90 and 110 points, the particularly humorous got a value between 126 and 138 points. On top of that, the humor made the male test subjects in particular more attractive to the women. “Women use humor as a strong selection criterion for their sexual partners,” explain the scientists.

  2. Attractive people are smarter

    Not correct. Attractive people aren't smarter. The above-mentioned study by the three Czech scientists at least suggests that attractive people are judged by their fellow human beings to be more intelligent - but this connection does not work the other way around.

  3. Intelligence can be improved

    Not clear. This statement is highly controversial. Are brain jogging and memory training useful? It is doubted that the entire intelligence can be improved through such exercises - but one thing is certain: It is possible to train and improve individual skills such as memory. However, this does not make you smarter.

  4. Smart people are more successful

    Yes and no. There is a positive correlation between intelligence and professional success. However, intelligence is not everything. It is an additional factor, but by no means a guarantee of success. You have to have certain skills to become an engineer, for example. However, that does not mean that you automatically have a career. It is the mixture of intelligence, charisma and assertiveness and countless other aspects that lead to success.

  5. As people get older, they become smarter

    No. Human memory changes throughout a lifetime. Even in old age, people are capable of learning. For tasks that require speed, however, a decline in performance can be observed with age. When it comes to logic tasks, however, people can still perform well into old age. In other words: in old age a person is richer in experience, but not necessarily more intelligent. Accordingly, it is important here which conception of intelligence is represented and examined.

  6. Intelligence depends on genes

    Partly, partly. IQ is genetic, but the environment also plays a role. To measure the influence of genes on the one hand and the environment on the other, researchers usually compare twins. Ulman Lindenberger from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development comes to the conclusion that a person can only develop his genetic intelligence potential if his environment allows it. Stress, neglect and abuse, however, have massive and negative effects on cognitive performance.

  7. Sport makes you smarter

    Right. Scientists from the Stanford Center on Longevity and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development stated in a memorandum that regular physical endurance training increases cerebral blood flow and stimulates the formation of new blood vessels and nerve cell connections. These are necessary for the brain to be efficient. Attention and thinking skills can be promoted with the help of endurance training.

  8. Chaots are more intelligent

    Right. Research says: Chaos is a sign of high intelligence. People who tend to chaos often have multiple interests, pursue several hobbies and are enormously creative - only they often live this out at the same time. The result: chaos. In fact, other studies also confirm that a bit of chaos (on the desk) led to more inventive solutions and that the residents of such offices are more adventurous and open-minded.

  9. Night owls are smarter

    Right. At least British studies conducted by the London School of Economics and using 20,000 test subjects came to the conclusion that intelligent people tend to stay up late at night. Or the other way around: Scientists believe that intelligent people are biologically more inclined to be night owls than early risers (so-called larks). However, this is only a one-way correlation. In other words, if you get up early, you don't have to be stupid; and if you stay up late in the evening, you won't get any wiser.

Intelligence test: are blondes really dumber?

No more prejudice and endless blonde jokes: In order to get to the bottom of the stupid blonde stereotype once and for all, researchers have actually investigated the correlation between hair colors and intelligence. The surprising result: not only that the real (!) Blondes weren't that stupid - they were even those with the highest intelligence quotient of all the test subjects examined. Admittedly, the differences were only marginal: the real (i.e. not colored) blondes performed only 0.5 IQ points better than brunettes. Compared to the black-haired, the difference was only 2.7 IQ points ...

It is also a correlation, no causality. Means: The hair color does not affect the intelligence. There is only one striking parallel. The less striking result of the study, which one basically suspected for a long time, is therefore more exciting: the blonde cliché is gross nonsense! Intelligent or not, intelligence has nothing to do with hair color.

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February 26, 2021Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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